When you think of the words ‘Co-Parenting’ or ‘Shared Parenting’ – you probably think about the experience of raising children as single parents when couples separate or divorce – right? As a child of divorced parents and now a parent myself, I’ve often wondered… Isn’t parenthood the ultimate co-parenting or job share experience whether you are together or apart – right from day one? Surely the same basics should apply at all stages of parenthood?! So when we support expectant and new parents, we like to get them to start thinking about the parenthood journey as a kind of job share…right from the start, and at The Parents Village we give our clients the ultimate ‘hand-over’ so they feel supported, prepared, and ready to start the most incredible rollercoaster role of being a new parent.
Today’s tongue twister:
Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor performance.
The early years of coupledom can feel like one big loved up coconut bliss ball, and many coupes assume that having a baby will just be the cherry on top. But let’s not sugar coat it… Although having a baby is, indeed one of the most incredible heart exploding things that can happen to the lives of a couple, having a new baby can throw everything out of whack, particularly if you aren’t prepared. There’s a new life to look after before yourselves, a new set of skills to learn at light speed, and an increase in energy required with a lot less free time and sleep.
Putting in the effort before bub arrives could dramatically improve your chances of winning at this parenting gig together and reduce the likelihood of relationship rupture, scoring you a smooth transition into parenthood.
Here are some key steps we recommend you take to develop your own kick-ass co-parenting plan for long term connection, satisfaction and success as a new family.
“Stop, Collaborate and Listen.” – Vanilla Ice
- Respect your partner as you would a team mate or colleague – someone you have regular team meetings, progress checks and updates with.
- Confide in each other about, your concerns, your goals as parents and for your career too, and commit to meeting each others individual needs.
- Decide how to communicate. Maybe you are not the most fresh or receptive late at night before bed. Perhaps you are at your best over breakfast on the weekend. For some – conversation is all that’s needed, for others they need a written plan of attack to ensure they are on the same page.
- Share your expectations on how you hope to parent – things that you think may be obvious or instinctive may not be for your partner (e.g. establishing routine).
- Recognise your differences. You will both have different ways of approaching things but try to find a middle ground that you can both agree to.
- Give it time to see how it goes and aim to be open minded and flexible. Plans will change. Make adjustments based on what’s working or not working for each of you and your baby.
- Check-in with each other each week to let your partner know how you are feeling and coping, to give feedback, and to review your agreed plan.
Your ability to co-parent successfully is largely dependent on your readiness to accept and embrace that most aspects of your life will change dramatically and continue to change as your child grows. Don’t leave anything unspoken or assumed. Remember the ol’ saying, “ASSUME – makes an ‘Ass’ out of ‘U’ and ‘Me’.”
“He who fails to plan is planning to fail” – Sir Winston Churchill
The Parents Village specialise helping couples prepare for parenthood and create their own unique shared plan for success.
For more information contact us via email; firstname.lastname@example.org.